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of the cannons were along this side of the island. they faced the city of san francisco but more importantly, they faced the mouth of the golden gate. from here, alcatraz was the strong point of something known then as the triangle of death. at one leg of the triangle layed four point, guarding the entrance to the bay. alcatraz with its 105 guns was the center point for symmetrical reasons. any ironclad ship could have reduced fortifications to rubble. they apparently couldn't hit anything not even a ship at anchor during a holiday celebration. >> in 1876 when america celebrated its centennial they towed an old ship to bay and they began firing at it from all these forts. fort point, fort mason. and from marin and they finally weren't hitting the ship. they had to go out and set up hughes. in front of this huge crowd it blew up and looked quite impressive. but the tacticians found out they weren't doing a very good job against this floating target that was not going any where. >> reporter: if alcatraz missed as a fortress. somebody always thought it would make a dandy prison. in 1853, alcatr
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